Yangon, Myanmar — Kaya FC–Iloilo banked on an inspired second half to take all three points against Myanmar Champions, Shan United, on Wednesday afternoon at the Thuwunna Stadium. Goals from captain Jovin Bedic, and substitute Eric Giganto did the damage as the match finished 2-0 in favor of the Philippine club.
“The first half we struggled a little bit, but we turned things around in the second half,” said Kaya head coach Oliver Colina. “We got what we came for. It doesn’t matter if it’s two-nil, one-nil, or whatever. We got the three points, and that was our objective coming here.”
Although Iloilo almost scored in just the third minute of play, the bright start wasn’t sustained in the opening half. Shan United took advantage and took control of the tempo, and in the 26th minute they almost broke through. Free on a rare one-on-one, Mike Casas needed to pull off a fine save to keep the scores level heading into the break.
After canceling one another out in a cagey opening period, things began to open up as the second half wore on. With the introductions of Eric Giganto and Arnel Amita, Kaya started to find a bit more pace in their attack. With just over 15 minutes remaining, Amita was brought down inside the box, earning a vital penalty, which captain Jovin Bedic casually tucked away.
12 minutes later, Arnel was involved again as the Philippine side doubled their advantage. Amita picked off the ball near the halfway line, dashed into the box, and managed to poke the ball into the path of Giganto who first-timed the ball into the corner of the net.
“The penalty changed the game. We scored that goal and the momentum changed. Shan United remained composed, but with all due respect, we’re a strong team also. We just played our game, got our chance and we took it,” said Colina.
“The feeling is great, especially to score here in Myanmar. They’re a good team. We saw them play before in the Philippines. Credit to my teammates, they worked so hard over the 90 minutes. Me, I was just in the right place at the right time and I scored. Actually I’m not looking for the Man of the Match. My whole team did well. I give the credit to them,” said Eric Giganto after the game.
The 2-0 victory places Kaya FC–Iloilo momentarily atop of Group H, an ideal position ahead of their home match against Tampines Rovers on February 26, at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.